Republican and Democrat; male and female; gay and straight; African and Scandinavian and Asian remembered.
One sun rises over Appalacia, the Great Plains, the Mohave Desert, the sky scrapers.
One sun illuminates folk inside soup kitchens and Congressional halls; beside chalk boards and empty chairs where 20 children once ate Cheerios.
Americans are united under one sun, he said. We matter. All of us matter.
Man was dust, earthen vase, an eyelid
of tremulous loam, the shape of clay --
he was Carib jug, Chibcha stone,
imperial cup of Araucanian silica.
Tender and bloody was he, but on the grip
of his weapon of moist flint,
the initials of the earth were
(From "Amor America, 1400")
Pam Munoz Ryan's novel "The Dreamer" reveals Neruda as a young man with "suspicion and hope that there was something yet-to-be-discovered about himself that was magnificent – something that he had to share."
He was " made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States—meaning his mother, seven months pregnant, and the rest of the family arrived as exiles from Cuba to Madrid where he was born."
Munoz Ryan's beautiful young adult tale of Neftali, the boy who would become Pablo Neruda, gently, rhythmically defines the determination and sensitivity required for such greatness.
"The Dreamer" is recommended reading for middle school students, but appreciated by the poet in all. Peter Sis illustrated the novel.